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Finding the Blessing in My Anxiety

Hodan Bakal found deep appreciation for her Lord in a most uncomfortable situation.

We’ve all experienced unforgettable days. Whether it be the scariest day of our life, the funniest or the ugliest, we all have those handful of days that we constantly relive in our memories. Sometimes, these days impact us for the rest of our lives. At times positively, and other times negatively. For me, I feel like the best and worst day of my life happened on the same day – it was the day I realized that Allah (SWT) was in charge of my life.


Now, I’m the type of person that likes to keep my personal issues to myself. Some people can just go to their friends and talk about what’s going on at home, or how someone made them cry, or whatever it be. I just can’t. I don’t know what it is exactly, but I’m uncomfortable with that type of stuff. The words don’t flow out of me naturally. It’s funny because I’ve had a few close friends ask me, “…so, how come you never talk to me about any of your problems? Are we not close like that?” Well, about that guys, it’s not you – it’s me. The reason I bring this up is because I’m about to go out of my comfort zone. Here’s why: I remember when I was facing this hardship, I thought to myself, “One day, whenever I get through this (by the will of Allah (SWT), I will try to help anybody else I find struggling with this same problem.” And so, here I am.


A few years back, I went through a period of intense anxiety. Now, to some, this trial may seem light. But let me tell you, anxiety is a joke until you face it yourself. Every day I was experiencing panic attacks. I couldn’t even concentrate in my classes anymore. It was seemingly the most random thing. I don’t know where it came from, or how it started, but it just did. I remember being scared all the time; I truly felt like I was dying 24/7. Let me tell y’all, I went from being that friend who would always be cracking jokes, to “Mute Spittah” real quick (if you know, you know). It was serious. However, through it all, my mom was my rock. She was the only one who really understood this test I was going through. She told me she had experienced it herself when she was younger, and that comforted me so much. There’s really nothing like being understood in this world. But, this comfort I had found in my mother had quickly shifted to reliance; I began to depend on my mom every day. Every time I was having a panic attack, I would run to her. Whether I was at school, work, or even with friends, I would ring her up and seek her comfort until the panicking went away. I was sick, and she was my cure – well, at least I hoped she would be.


A few weeks passed, and I was still experiencing these horrible panic attacks. The cycle continued: I would have a panic attack, then run to my mom, feel a bit of relief, and then back at it again we went. Every day. At this point, I was glued to my mother. I wanted to be next to her all the time. When she was grocery shopping, who was with her? Me. When she was sleeping, who was next to her? Me. When she was chillin’ with her friends, who was chillin’ with the crew too? Peekaboo, it’s me! I was more work than a baby. Poor Mama. She’s my patience level #goals. One day, I came home from school after having had a very bad day with my anxiety. I remember resting my head on my mom’s lap, with tears sliding down my face. I was mentally exhausted. It was then that my mom struck me with words that I will never forget. In a gentle tone, she told me, “Hodan, I can’t do anything for you. Only Allah can take this away.” For some reason, I remember feeling so terrified. I felt hopeless. I felt like I was never going to get better – I was becoming mentally insane!



You see, from birth, a mom is a child’s hero. Ever since I can remember, my mom always fulfilled my every need. Whether I was sick with the flu, needed school supplies, or passionately desired the latest iPhone, my mom always got the job done. She always found a way. And so, having “my hero” tell me that she couldn’t do anything for me when I needed her the most, was very scary to me. The anxiety I was experiencing had taken a toll on my life; I wasn’t eating right, sleeping right, and certainly not thinking right anymore. I wanted this feeling to go away so badly. And I knew I had no other option. I had to run to God. And keep running to Him. Again, and again. Until it became natural. Until I got to know Him in ways I never did. Until God became my go-to. Until I loved running to Him. Until I only ran to Him.


Abu al-‘Abbas ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abbas, (RA), reported: One day I was behind the Prophet, (SAW) and he said to me:
“O young man, I shall teach you some words [of advice] : Be mindful of Allah, and Allah will protect you. Be mindful of Allah, and you will find Him in front of you. If you (have need to) ask, ask of Allah; and if you seek help, seek help from Allah. Know that even if the Nation (or the whole community) were to gather together to benefit you with something, they would not benefit you with anything except that which Allah has already recorded for you, and that if they gather together to harm you with something, they would not be able to harm you with anything except that which Allah has already recorded against you. The pens have been lifted and the pages have dried.” (Tirmidhi)


So, what’s my situation today? Alhamdulillah, primarily, I am living. More so, I have established a peace of mind that I never thought I could experience. Although my anxiety still creeps up on me here and there, today, in my heart, I know Allah’s (SWT) got me – through whatever. He always has.


It’s important to know that Allah (SWT) tests us for a reason. I didn’t understand that at first, but if it wasn’t for my anxiety, I wouldn’t know Allah (SWT) like I know Him today. We are all facing hardships. Everybody is. But, when we rely on Allah (SWT), suddenly, the weight of the hardship lightens. And know that there is not a thing that He cannot give. He is The Most Wise; The Most Loving; The Most Compassionate; The Most Powerful. It’s a blessing to know Him – the biggest blessing.


You can read more by Hodan Bakal on her blog – http://hodanbakal.com





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